Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Volto Altezza and Altezzoso

When mesh first went into beta, I wanted to give it a try and see what I could do with it. The first thing that came to mind was a volto mask, because I have never been happy with my attempts to make a full face mask with sculpts. I had a lot to learn.

For about eight months all I did to play with mesh was mess around with a volto. I made literally dozens of them, starting over and over again until I could sculpt a pair of decent lips in just a few minutes. Every time I did, I learned a bit more about topology, how the polygons could work together and what to aim for.
The evolution of my topology, from left to right

You can see how the picture on the left has a lot of points and lots of "snags", parts where the lines aren't neat squares. That's the sort of thing that would get ugly if you tried sculpting on it, and would prevent a smooth and consistent surface. I finally got the hang of getting rid of those and managed to figure out how to make neat loops and keep my detail where I needed it most.

So believe me, this mask has been a long time coming.

After so much tweaking, revisions and refinement and then finally another round of neurotic scrutiny, I am very proud to share this mask with you. The Volto Altezza is an ornate and elegant visage, with a proud crown of coque feathers. Altezza is Italian for "loftiness", and "sua altezza" is an equivalent expression to "your highness". With the refinement and detail of the delicate metal work, no one will doubt that you're worthy of the title.

We can't have a fine lady without an escort though, and so a worthy gentleman had to be produced.
The most notable difference aside from the features is that he doesn't have customizable lips. I found it just far too feminine on him, so I hope you'll find the feather crown enough color. Speaking of, I've made the mask and crown separate. If you like, you can wear just the crown or just the mask, and I've even included an option for just the crown with no feathers if you want to wear something in your hair.

For the first time, I used Photoshop brushes as alphas for the details on the crown and center mask. I had to, to achieve the detail and intricacy I hoped to. I'm happy to credit the incredibly talented Coy Dreamer. I used selections from her Decorative and Floral sets as imprintable patterns on to my high detail model. I doubt I could achieve such a beautiful effect without her efforts.

When you try to create a neutral, beautiful face, it's amazing how much of a challenge it becomes. There are so many little details that our minds are especially attune to being able to detect the slightest error in, and they end up needing scrutiny and heaps of patience to fix. After all this time I'm finally happy with my work, and I have something I can be proud of for hopefully a long while. I hope to use this mask a base for other patterns and variations in the future, and I look forward to seeing where I end up next.

Out now at the store: 450L
Volto Altezza (f) on the marketplace
Volto Altezzoso (m) on the marketplace

1 comment:

Jen Shikami (Vaengi) said...

*BIG SIGH* So pretty... so delicate yet implacable (being a mask). Neutral is a good word for it. Maybe it's because it's full-face but this is just more inherently mask-like in my mind!

Anyway, beautiful!